More info on MN Broadband Grants: $29.06 million requested

Wanted to share the latest from the Office of Broadband Development on the Border to Border grant applications…

Broadband Applications Increase in Latest Funding Round

~Forty-four entities request $29.06 million~

ST PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has closed the application process for $10.58 million in funding that is available to build out broadband infrastructure in Greater Minnesota.

The agency’s Office of Broadband Development said it received requests for $29.06 million from 44 entities by the Sept. 15 application deadline. During the previous application period, the state received 40 applications. Funding for the agency’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program was approved during the 2015 legislative session.

“With grant requests nearly triple the available funding, it’s clear that the need for investment in rural broadband access is significant,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “The $10.58 million available this year is a start, but it’s essential that the Legislature provide sufficient funding next session.”

A list of entities seeking funding and the areas that would be served is available here.

Under the program, entities can use the funding to pay for up to 50 percent of the cost of expanding broadband service in unserved or underserved regions of Minnesota. The maximum grant available to any single entity is $5 million.

“The Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program is serving an important need throughout Minnesota by providing access to high-quality, high-speed broadband service to our citizens, businesses and public buildings,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “The increase in applications during this funding round is a reminder that there are still a number of communities that lack high-speed broadband access.”

DEED officials said internal review of the 44 applications and scoring are now under way. The agency expects to announce which entities were approved for funding in November.

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